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Neglect is defined in government guidance as “persistent failure to meet a child’s basic needs to the extent that it is has a serious effect on the child’s health or development”. This can be either the child’s physical or emotional needs.

Neglect may involve a parent failing to:

  • Provide enough food and clothing
  • Provide a proper home. This can include excluding a child from home or abandoning them.
  • Protect a child from physical or emotional danger
  • Provide proper supervision. This can include leaving a child in the care of someone who cannot provide adequate care.
  • Take a child to the doctor or dentist when they need to go. Or failing to follow medical advice.
  • Respond to a child’s basic emotional needs.
    Ensure their child is given an education.
  • Neglect can occur before a child is born. For example, if a mother misuses drugs during pregnancy.

For more information see our advice pages on:


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